IFAW Wildlife Rescue Centre celebrates 10 years and 1,600 animals saved

(Assam, India – 28 August 2012) – An elephant calf injured in a village, a rhino orphaned by poachers, a full-grown tiger discovered in a well and a leopard found in a house! These are four of 1,600 animals and 150 species saved in the last ten years at the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s Wildlife Rescue Centre in northeast India.

Situated near Kaziranga National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the northeast Indian state of Assam, the centre was opened in 2002 by IFAW in partnership with the Assam Forest Department and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI). Since then it has pioneered hand-raising and rehabilitation of numerous species of wild animals including clouded leopards, rhinos, elephants, bears, birds like the greater adjutant storks and India’s only apes – Hoolock gibbons.

“The IFAW Wildlife Rescue Centre has achieved pioneering work in the rehabilitation of endangered wildlife, including a number of notable firsts – the first orphan Asian elephants returned to the wild and the first documented release of hand-reared clouded leopards,” said Ian Robinson, IFAW Animal Rescue Director. “The centre staff have much to be proud of.”

“The centre rescues wild animals in distress, be it due to natural causes such as floods, or even man-made causes including conflicts. Assam has set numerous exemplary wildlife conservation and welfare milestones for the entire country to follow, and this centre is one of those – our pride,” said Suresh Chand, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden, Assam Forest Department.

Combining animal welfare ethics and wildlife conservation, the centre has achieved more than just saving individual animals in distress. Significant achievements include the reintroduction of rhinos to Manas National Park – another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Assam that had lost its entire rhino population to poachers. The orphaned rhino calves were hand-raised and then moved to the wild in Manas, kick-starting the crucial rhino reintroduction program in 2006. Likewise, displaced elephant calves, orphaned clouded leopards and Asiatic black bear cubs have been hand-raised and released into the wild in Manas.

“Commitment is what makes our centre different. Within a decade, it has grown to what it is now, despite its share of difficulties or even life-threatening situations faced by people in the field,” says Vivek Menon, WTI Executive Director.

The centre has also provided opportunities to aspiring wildlife veterinarians from India and abroad to hone their skills in wild animal welfare and treatment. A number of veterinarians have been trained, working as volunteers, interns and staff members.


Notes to Editors –

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Amanda Gent at IFAW on 0207 587 6725, e-mail agent@ifaw.org

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Amanda Gent| Communications Officer
IFAW – International Fund for Animal Welfare
London Office
87-90 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7UD
tel. +44 207 587 6725 
email. agent@ifaw.org

Saving Animals in Crisis Around the World   www.ifaw.org